To receive the report from the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member.
(1) The Cabinet Committee received a report of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport which contained information on the Winter Service Policy for 2014/15. Carol Valentine, Highway Manager (West), was in attendance to introduce the report and in particular referred to the following:
(2) KCC’s Highways Operations Winter Service Team had started work last year to implement national guidance for winter service as issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) and detailed in the Code of Practice for highway authorities – Well Maintained Highways - section 13 Winter Service. The appendix to this section of the guidance – Appendix H – had been updated and amended as a result of lessons learnt in the industry over four successive cold and snowy winters.
(3) Although, for the first time since 2009, there were no snow days during the winter period 2013/14 there were still a number of days and nights where there were marginal temperatures hovering around zero. This lead to 70 primary salting runs being undertaken, 39 full runs covering all of Kent and 31 part runs.
(4) Kent was an example of best practice in Winter Service and during the summer work had been undertaken to refine and improve the winter service in the following areas:
· a route optimisation programme;
· assessing areas of Appendix H to implement this coming winter; and
· the procurement of the weather station contract.
(5) Kent’s farmers were currently contracted to clear rural areas when there are snowy conditions and this provided an extremely valuable service. Last year it had been intended to carry out a trial by providing a few farmers with a trailer and salt so that they could treat areas that they have in the past just ploughed. The trial did not go ahead as there were no snow events; dependent on the weather it will be trialled this season. The results of the trial will be reviewed at the end of the season and decisions taken about how it can be taken forward in future years.
(6) Following the successful winter service campaign ‘We’re prepared are/have you?’ which ran across the county in 2012/13, a similar campaign was planned for last year which was not used. Work is ongoing to continue this work for the coming season and the website and radio advertising as well as Twitter will be key in getting the winter message across the county.
(7) In response to questions raised and comments made the Committee received the following further information from officers:
(8) Route optimisation was an activity to optimise the existing gritting routes for the county and develop an in-house capability so that routes could be updated and amended without the necessity of asking consultants for help.
(9) The DfT’s Well Maintained Highways Code of Practice recommended that local authorities identify a minimum network that would be treated continuously for a period of six days in the event of a severe winter event. Last year KCC ... view the full minutes text for item 39